Help me put together The Anthology of the Best Science Blogging!

You may have seen (or even bought and read) those annual collections of science-related articles that were published in print press over a course of a year, e.g., The Best American Science Writing 2006 or The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006. Wonderful stuff, written by real pros.

But we are bloggers - the TIME persons of the year! We think differently. We want amateurs, not pros. We want best in the world, not just American.

The idea about an anthology of best science writing came from, a local online publishing company, which has initially offered to print a collection of 50 best science blog posts of all time and donate a free copy to all participants at the Science Blogging Conference, then have it for sale (paperback - quite cheap) from their website afterwards.

Well, the time is short - one month exactly. Since it is possible that it will not get done in time for the conference, Lulu decided to sponsor the meeting in a different way, and we will talk to about some other way to make the book available when it comes out. needs only a few days at the end of the process, but having the material ready for them will take some time. It may or may not be doable, but I want to try it anyway. Since I am organizing the conference, the whole blook-editing business somehow fell into my lap by default. Let's see how I manage to do it. If this works out, we should do this every year (and do it a little bit before the holidays so it can be given as a present) with a different person serving as "editor" each year. Also, next year's editor will have an easier time - only one year of posts to choose from. I'll have to choose from all science posts ever written!

It would be really easy to get one post from each blog here at Seed and put them together into a book, but we represent only about 10% (at most) of the science blogging universe and there is great science blogging outside of SB empire as well (anything you can do to spread the word will be appreciated). So, this is a call for suggestions. From you!

Suggest your own best post of all time. Then suggest a few more unforgettable posts written by others over the years. Post links in the comments here or e-mail me. I guess a 2-part series can be fused into a single post and count as one. You can use this series of links or my new blogroll to organize your searches if you want. can handle images, but cool photographs will probably not turn out too well as the images will be rendered in black and white (color is prohibitively expensive), so you may choose to change an image in your post into a version that renders better in b&w. Each post will have a URL printed and a disclaimer, if needed, to go online to see the images in their full beauty. We'll also have a book webpage that will link to each of the 50 posts.

Copyrighted material may also be trouble. As you may be aware, it is impossible to embed audio or video files, polls and other interactive stuff into printed paper. Links also do not work on paper. So, try to choose posts that are text-rich and image-poor, with few or no links (we can place some URLs as footnotes). Certainly not posts that are totally dependent on the context provided by the stuff that is linked in it. If you want, you can mildly edit your own post to better fit this criterion and send me the final version as an MSWord file by e-mail. I will also ask each author of the final 50 chosen posts to give me and a permission to republish the work.

Let's try to cover as great diversity of topics and styles (serious, chatty, satirical, funny) as possible:

Think of posts that cover math, astronomy, cosmology, physics, chemistry, earth science, atmospheric science, marine science, various subdisciplines of biology, psychology, anthropology, etc.

Think of posts that cover history, philosophy, ethics and sociology of science.

Think of posts that cover the life in academia, women and minorities in science, science education and teaching, open-source publishing, science writing, blogging and journalism.

Think of posts written from the perspectives of tenured and tenure-track professors, adjuncts, postdocs, grad students, undergards and high school students, administrators, researchers working in the industry or government, science teachers in elementary, middle and high schools.

Think of great nature writing, posts that combine science and literature (Cocktail Party Physics?), science and art (Chaotic Utopia, Rigor Vitae, Olduvai George?), science and poetry.

Think of posts that destroy arguments by Creationists, global warming deniers, and other examples of pseudoscience and quackery.

Think of medical case-study posts from the perspectives of physicians, nurses and patients.

Think of posts that focus on a political attack on science.

Think of posts that are about science (and scientists) in the popular culture: literature, movies, SF.

Think of posts that translate the scientese of a paper into English readable by lay readers.

Think of posts that show that a hot new paper is not as good as the hype suggests.

Think of posts that rail against the way media misrepresented a paper.

Think of posts that summarize a whole area of research, or even can serve as primers or teaching assignments.

Think of posts that contain unpublished data, or detail one's current research.

Think of posts that contain information useful to the public, e.g., on Bird Flu.

If I get more than 50 suggestions (and the posts can be as old as you want), I can put them up for a vote or something and you can help me choose the top 50. Oh, and BTW, we need a good catchy title for the book!

Comments with multiple links automatically go to moderation. I will check the folder a few times a day and have your comments published as soon as I get to them.

Also, it may be a good idea to set a deadline. How about January 2nd at noon EST?

Update 2: I have started collecting links to submitted posts here.


More like this

From my own blog I'll nominate my Musical Scientists post. It's my all time favourite post, about one (no, two!) of my favourite topics, and written vaguely with print in mind (the links are in a list near the bottom).

From other people's blogs... Hm, it's hard to think of single posts.
Definitely "The Write Stuff" on Cocktail Party Physics. That's what made me start reading there.

I'll think if any other single posts from other bloggers jump to mind. (Okay, so I'll rather *not* think about it, and hope something pops in my head.)

PZ Myers' Niobrara comes to mind. It's anti-creationism, but rather than simply showing why creationism is wrong, it also expresses some of the beauty and the majesty of the world. It's a taste of what is lost if you legislate that children should not be taught about evolution.

Orac's two part piece on Egyptian medicine is a good example of something which I think blogs do well. The photos might prove problematic, but the text stands well on its own.

For the introduction Blogs and the Future of Science? Or perhaps the blog entry where Coturnix reveals how his Circadian research has enabled him to blog around the clock.

For my own stuff, I think my favorite straight science post is Once Upon a Time, though it relies on color imagery. We can figure that out, I'm sure.

I also have a post about science: Science Fare. I got a lot of positive comments about that one, and it's probably my most popular post.

meta question for you Bora: Some great science writing is done in the form of blogs by authors who also get a paycheck for their work as scientists or for their science writing in other formats like magazines and newspapers. Have you got a little further guidance on "who is a blogger" for the purposes of this project? Also, I found some of the blogged articles about genetics and evolution that went on behind the NYTimes paywall fairly stimulating but again: is paid blogging by celebrity scientists properly in the realm from which you would like to gather material?

And BTW, thank you for doing this, I think it is great way to preserve and present the quality of science blogging for a slightly difference audience.

Yes, I am trying to highlight the best of science blogging WRITING for a diverse audience, not neccessarily the regular science blog reading audience. And, there is such a wealth of good writing among the 'amateurs', why bother with the pros. Though, if pros (like Zimmer) also write their own personal blogs, that stuff is game, but their NYT articles are not.